It has not been an easy ride for Mesut Ozil at Arsenal in recent years. The player, who cost us a fortune when he was bought from Real Madrid, has been a divider of opinions amongst football fans and football analysts. Many believe he has passed his prime and that he should be sold, others believe he still has a lot to contribute to the team. Yet, others feel he has been wrongly utilized in the team. Whatever the opinion is, Ozil has surely divided opinions.
In all honesty, Ozil has not done anything special for Arsenal in a long while now, and I won’t be one to go against those who want him out of the club, but the question I want to ask is, if Ozil leaves, do we have any other skillful, creative player at Arsenal that can make things happen in the midfield? When Emery was in charge, he brought in Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid as a creative player. He probably felt he needs somebody to ease the pressure off Ozil and maybe replace Ozil in the long run. Ceballos came to Arsenal with promises but then, he has not lit up Arsenal’s midfield yet, or has he?
Mesut Ozil seems to play better if he is played behind the strikers. Emery never used Ozil the right way; he made Ozil suffer for his lack of decisiveness. Wenger, when he bought Ozil, used him in the center of the midfield and he performed well, grabbing assists upon assists, almost every season. When Wenger decided to push Ozil out on the wings, he reduced the German’s influence in the game. Ozil has no pace; he is not so good at whipping in crosses from the wing. Why Wenger thought he could play effectively from the wings is a mystery I am yet to unravel.
Mikel Arteta seems to believe in Ozil’s ability to influence the game from the midfield and that is why he has used Ozil in the center of the pitch, ever since he took over. Ozil may not have the strength or physical attributes to get gritty on the pitch, but he surely has the skills to unlock stubborn defences; a weapon we need at Arsenal desperately.
Ozil seems to have found his form back at the moment. How long he is going to keep playing well under Arteta, only time will tell but if I were Arsenal, I will not sell Ozil. I will allow him run down his contract and then let him go a free. We seriously need Ozil’s skills, and based on what we saw him do against Chelsea and Manchester United, at least in the first halves of those games, we can assume that Ozil may finally give us his best this season. But will his best be enough to keep him at Arsenal for long? We shall wait and see.